In Catholicism is all immigration (lawful or unlawful) considered the same? If not then what is the criteria to establish one from the other?
Hello! The short answer is that the Catholic Church does not recognize all forms of immigration as equal or lawful. Catechism paragraph 2241 states, “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able (emphasis added), to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops lays out two principles regarding immigration: 1) “to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the human person;” and 2) “to secure one’s border and enforce the law for the sake of the common good. Sovereign nations have the right to enforce their laws and all persons must respect the legitimate exercise of this right” (https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immigration/churchteachingonimmigrationreform).
Seems to me that people have a right to seek a better life for themselves, but nations have a right to secure their borders while simultaneous implementing and enforcing fair and legal immigration laws.
By the way, the criteria is the law itself. If lawmakers create laws that increase or decrease legal immigration thresholds, then that’s what must be followed. If government officials want to increase thresholds, they must do it the constitutional way. Introduce a bill, garner support, put it through committee, and if approved, submit it to the chamber for a vote. If they can’t do this, they must not encourage immigrants to illegally enter the U.S. Unfortunately, this is exactly what’s going on in the Democrat party today. Their principle is this: If we can’t change the law, then we will encourage folks to break it. Quite pathetic if you ask me.